Climbing Jebel Toubkal And Trekking In The High Atlas Mountains Of Morocco
Morocco doesn't usually come to mind when you think about climbing mountains and trekking
Morocco has the highest Mountain in North Africa- Jebel Toubkal which rises to 4167 m above sea level. The great thing too is that the Toubkal National Park is around 60 km from the busy tourist destination of Marrakech and can be climbed in two to three days from the village of Imlil.
Imlil marks the end of the main road which leads into the mountains and leads you to a thriving small town which has developed as a result of mountain tourism. Therefore it forms a great base for climbing Toubkal mountain.
At the Summit of Jebel Toubkal
Our trusty guide Mohammed
Trekking Toubkal from Imlil
Imlil is one of the best places to pick up a guide for your trip as well as muleteers to carry any luggage for you if you wish or your fitness dictates. A team can usually be hired for a price of around 400 dirham a day (about 40 euros/ £35 gbp)
Imlil is also home to the Kasbah Du Toubkal. The now renovated kasbah serves as a luxurous hotel and guest house which sits on the hill above the town and offers true Berber hospitality.
As part of an exodus package holiday we started our week in Marrakech before heading up into the Atlas Mountains for trekking and Jebel Toubkal. Our fantastic guide for the week was Mohammad and he gave great value to the trip providing much needed knowledge on local culture, customs and ensuring we followed the right route while remaining safe.
Imlil, Moroccan High Atlas Mountains.
The Kasbah Du Toubkal
Looking back on Aremd
Climbing up to the Neltner Refege- Toubkal Basecamp
From Imli the trail takes you past the recently renovated kasbah du toubkal which looks truly magical. The trail climbs up along the river valley to the small town of Aremd.
From Aremd take the path to the left of the river valley and climb up to the religious shrine at Sidi Chamrouch.
Spending the night in the Neltner Refuge
Be aware that mountain refuges are basic. Make sure you've bought a good quality sleeping bag with you like a Quechua Bionnassay -5 four season sleeping bag. You'll be sleeping in dormitories and potentially sharing with strangers.
If you fancy a hot shower a pair of simply flip flops will be required as the sanitary standards are below what you would expect in a hotel (By some distance)
The Neltner refuge is right at the bottom of the start of the main Toubkal climb. Be prepared for a 5-6 AM start at first light (a head torch is recommended for visibility) however this is required to make an attempt at the Toubkal Summit as in the afternoon the skies are most likely to cloud over.
The Neltner Mountain Refuge, 3207 m Toubkal NP
Be prepared for a 6 AM push to the Toubkal summit
As the crow flies it's only around 3 km from the Neltner Refuge to the Toubkal trekking summit but it's all uphill with an altitude gain from 3207 to 4167 m above sea level at the summit.
Heading to to the summit of Jebel Toubkal
Next Step- Climbing Jebel Toubkal in Winter
Climbing Toubkal was a fantastic experience and I would definitely love to go back to the Atlas Mountains although I would like to see the contrast in winter. You don't really associate Morocco with snow but up high in the Atlas there are even Ski resorts.
Next time I head back to Morocco for an adventure I think it will have to be for some winter climbing of Toubkal. It would certainly be a bigger challenge but I feel I'm up to the task!
I really wish I had climbed Toubkal in Winter- magical views and lots of snow
More travel links for the adventure minded
- Atlas and Sahara Tours :: Qualified and Professional Mountains and Desert Guides in Morocco
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